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article imageNew bird flu threat

By Tim Sandle     Feb 8, 2014 in Science
The Chinese government has reported the first two human cases of H10N8 avian influenza. One case is linked to the death of a 73-year-old woman.
Coming shortly after the Digital Journal reported that H7N9 bird flu could spread between people, following the death of a medical worker in China, comes news about a new type of bird flu and a risk of bird-to-human transmission.
Prior to this year, the H10N8 strain of avian influenza A had only been detected in birds. However, this year Chinese authorities have notified the World Health Organization (WHO) that a 73-year-old woman from Jiangxi Province in China had tested positive for H10N8 influenza. The case has been covered by the medical journal The Lancet. With the second case, a H10N8 has been detected in a 55-year-old woman, who is also from the Jiangxi Province. This woman is currently in stable condition.
The Lancet report states that that the patient in the first case visited a poultry market four days before becoming ill. But identical strains of H10N8 were not identified at the poultry market, so the source of the virus could not be confirmed.
Discussing the case, Yuelong Shu of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing said in a research note: "A genetic analysis of the H10N8 virus shows a virus that is distinct from previously reported H10N8 viruses, having evolved some genetic characteristics that may allow it to replicate efficiently in humans. Notably, H9N2 virus provided the internal genes not only for the H10N8 virus, but also for H7N9 and H5N1 viruses."
Despite the two H10N8 cases, medical opinion is that the classic bird flu - the H7N9 influenza strain - is far more serious and poses the greatest risk to people.
More about Bird flu, Avian flu, Influenza, Chickens
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